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Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Beholder, by David Bishop and Evolution of Insanity by Haresh Daswani

Flagstaff AZ USA 315 10Arizona

David Bishop has written several murder mysteries, and I am gratefully working my way through them. Each one offers a different back story, with a main character that invites both the author and the reader to imagine a series of stories. 

The Beholder features a new character, Sergeant Maddie Richards, appointed to lead the newly created homicide task force. It is a position she has worked toward since becoming a detective, following in her father's footsteps, and working with his former partner, Jeb. Finding her way into the very male department is seen as a challenge to Maddie, one that she takes on and deals with using workplace humor and language. Her character reveals appropriate caution and some dare-devil driving.

Maddie is a single mother with a now wealthy remarried ex who would like to gain custody of their young son, using the danger and stresses of Maddie's career to paint her as an unfit mother. Maddie and her son live with Maddie's mother, who cooks and cares for the two of them. Maddie's neighbor is a handsome man being considered a suspect in the death of his wife in Chicago, and her mentor is a handsome FBI agent in Washington DC who flies in with a willing ear to hear her thoughts and help her construct a profile of the murderer. The reader is kept wondering about all of these entanglements and personalities, and which of them will hold Maddie's interest romantically. 

The first homicide is a young black woman trying to work her way out of her poor situation and into a Chef training in California. She is killed in a brutal fashion, best left here without description, as I know some of my readers are still at a tender stage in their readings. This book is not one I would recommend for any readers under 18, as some of the language and scenes are provocative.

When the second murder occurs in a similar fashion, word spreads quickly that there is a serial killer afoot, and Maddie's responsibilities are now overshadowed by pressure coming at her  from the press and down from the Mayor and Chief of Police.  Aside from the manner of death, there seems only one other similarity between the two beautiful victims: their promiscuous lifestyles; one is a single "working girl" and the other a wealthy married woman with time on her hands and no inhibitions. But the third victim is not like the first two at all, and so the puzzle remains. And the governor of Arizona joins those seeking a quick solve, as tourism may be affected by the spreading fear.

David Bishop has again written a mystery that holds the reader suspended in thought ... not only who is the killer, but why are these women chosen, and how was the murderer's evil mind formed? When the fourth murder takes place, another similarity is glimpsed by Maddie, who then has to convince her superior officers to go with her theory and assign more officers but quietly.

I give five stars to this mystery, and caution those with a squeamish temperament to read the book with the lights on and someone trustworthy nearby, ready to allay your fears of sounds in the night. As Maddie Richards cautions: don't open your door to anyone you don't know WELL.

I've read other stories by David Bishop: to see their reviews, click the links below:

Who Murdered Garson Talmadge?

The Bijou – The Movie House of our Youth 
This is a very powerful short piece. David is obviously as much an old movie buff as “Very Special Agent Anthony DeNozzo” on NCIS! Drawing in the woman's old neighborhood, the deteriorating theatre … details give this piece a nice style. "I’ll be back," as they say. 

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Evolution of Insanity, by Haresh Daswani

This is a book that was suggested to me by a fellow reader and author at Goodreads. I confess it was one I read a bit, then put down, then went back to read a bit more.

I found this book very interesting, but also very hard to stay attentive to. The style is not typical of readings I have done, and while that intrigued me, it made it difficult to hold on to the thread of what the author was conveying. Perhaps a more erudite reader with sophisticated skills would gain more from this book.

I thank the author for making it available to me. I would rate this four of five stars.
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